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Topics - Dullstar

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To reproduce:

1) Select an entrance or an exit that has a lemming limit. Alternatively, assign a lemming limit to an entrance or an exit that does not have one.
2) Attempt to place a new/select an existing object for which a lemming limit is not supported.

The editor will then display two error messages one after the other. The display order is first "Set lemming limit, but first selected piece is not able to have this value!", then "Lemming limit set for incompatible object." You can click through the error messages and continue editing as if nothing happened. I didn't notice anything off about the new objects but I also didn't inspect the file output for any garbage data.

Note that this does not happen if you attempt to add terrain. If you attempt to add a new object that supports a limit, the object will still be created with the default value of 0 as expected (i.e. it doesn't appear to be trying to assign the selected object's lemming limit to the new object). Unselecting the entrance/exit first does not prevent the error from appearing, nor does selecting terrain before selecting the object. However, selecting an entrance/exit without a limit before selecting the next object will prevent the error.

What if there are multiple objects in the selection? I noticed some inconsistent behavior. If I have time later, I can try recording a video of this if it would help with investigating the bug. I spoiler tagged it because I'm not as confident in the accuracy of the description.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

When thinking about the Validate Level functionality due to it being mentioned in another thread regarding the skill count, I remembered that it warned about missing hatches/exits and thought to see what would happen if I put a single preplaced lemming in a level with an exit and no hatch in a level whose stats were not changed from the default save 20 out of 40 lemmings. I expected I'd have an unbeatable level and maybe Validate Level would complain about it. I definitely didn't expect what behavior this actually caused:

The player recognizes the level is only capable of dispensing one lemming, so it shows level stats of 1 lemming, 1 to be saved. However, when it checks the results at the end of the level (assuming the player solves the level successfully according to the displayed stats), it disagrees with itself as to whether or not you beat the level: the displayed stats are consistent with beating the level (1 lemming, 1 saved), but it provides a message consistent with failure: "A little more practice on this level is definitely recommended!" Internally the game appears to treat this as a successful solve: the autosave successful replays feature will save the replay, and if the level is run through the player and not the editor, you will receive a checkmark for completing the level.

The attached level demonstrates that the player will adjust the level's obviously bad stats in an attempt to make it beatable. I suspect the mismatch between the result and the end of level message is due to the message being based off of the level's original stats rather than these adjusted stats.

The Validate Level functionality only mentions that the level is missing a hatch, which is true, but maybe a little vague. On the other hand that is the root cause. So while the Validate Level could probably be modified to detect this particular issue more specifically, it's probably fine as is for this particular scenario.

EDIT: This is specific to levels with the ability to dispense 0 or 1 lemmings (including preplaced). I was also able to replicate the behavior using a hatch set to spawn only 1 lemming. Validate Level will display an error that the level's save requirement is too high in this case rather than that the level is missing a hatch.

Currently the player allows displaying either the release rate or the spawn interval, spawn interval is saved internally into the editor's output, but the editor requires release rate. This means that players who use spawn interval have to convert to release rate when using the editor, or manually modify the spawn interval in the output file.

The editor clearly already knows how to interpret spawn interval, since it's what gets saved into the file. Would it be possible to allow users to use spawn intervals as well if desired?

Currently, the editor allows you to create a level with 11+ skills despite the 10 skill limit. It will warn about it when validating the level, but it still lets you save it with the excess skills assigned.

The player handles this gracefully by truncating the excess skills. But this creates a potential problem: In addition to resulting in some strange behavior when trying to modify skill allocations without exercising caution to ensure you don't exceed the limit (why is this skill I'm trying to add not showing?), if an eleventh skill is accidentally left in during development and hidden by the truncation behavior, these hidden skills could reappear if the limit is ever changed again.

I'd suggest graying out the fields for unused skills when the maximum number of skills have already been selected (by graying out only unused skills, this should prevent levels which have been manually edited to contain more than the maximum allowed number of skills from causing strange behaviors when loaded in the editor). To show that the editor does in fact save all the skills, rather than deleting the excess, a demonstration 1-of-everything level is attached.

Shift-space toggles between objects and terrain, which certainly has its uses. That said, sometimes I want to make a level title in all caps for stylistic reasons - and I usually end up holding shift to do that rather than pressing caps lock. This causes the shift-space function to trigger and prevents me from finishing typing the level title.

If a textbox has focus, and shift-space is pressed, the textbox should keep its focus. (As far as whether terrain/objects get toggled, I don't really care, as long as I can keep typing text in the box).

Currently, the level theme (main tileset) and the working tileset are completely independent of each other. This makes sense when you're just grabbing a piece from another set, but it's a little inconvenient whenever you're starting a new level (because you have to choose your tileset twice).

I suggest making it as follows:
  • If the level is blank: Change both
  • If the level contains objects and/or terrain: Keep current behavior.

Site Discussion / Attachment Too Large? Rewrite Your Whole Post!
« on: September 29, 2017, 01:46:22 AM »
Not sure if there's anything that can be done about this, but...

I tried to post something with an attachment, but it was too large. Rather than throwing an error, and allowing me to edit the post/attachments, everything was cleared, and I had to start entirely over (hence why I just posted a topic with the first post pretty much saying nothing but "placeholder").

Tested with starting a new topic, using Firefox as the browser. I haven't tested what happens if you're replying to an existing topic, but will attempt this and see if it gives the same result.

EDIT: I tested it by attempting to post a reply with a large attachment to this thread. It seems that it takes you to the "Start New Topic" page for some reason if the attachment is too large.

Fan Corner / Lemmings -> Famitracker (20A3 only) Covers
« on: September 29, 2017, 01:42:34 AM »
I made some covers of the original lemmings soundtrack (mostly the Amiga version, but drawing from a few other versions as well) using Famitracker. I made these over the course of about two or three years, or something like that. It's been quite a while since I started these - but it's a complete set, including the intro song and the special graphics levels. I then sat on them for a few months after finishing them. Seeing those VRC6 covers reminded me that I'd never gotten around to releasing these, so... I decided I might as well post them.

The project was first started as a way to one-up the really, really low quality music of the NES port of this game. As such, I chose to maintain similar limitations/restrictions - specifically, no expansion chips were used, and the DPCM channel (low-quality sample playback) was not used.

Doggie and cancan have two versions of them - both have one based on their Genesis/Megadrive version; Cancan has another based off of the Amiga version; Doggie has another that mixes some aspects of the Amiga and the Genesis version. I felt a straight-up port would not work particularly well for Doggie, so the introduction section present in the Amiga version is not present, instead skipping directly to the actual song. Some songs have had other edits. Lemming2 has a percussion line added based on the Lemmings 2 version. Lemming3 has had some slight modifications to the notes in an accompaniment part, simply because something that sounded fine on the Amiga came across very dissonant when ported note for note to pulse waves (this change is quite subtle, and would probably only be noticed with a side-by-side comparison). The bassline in Mountain was filled in a little, as it sometimes cuts out for chords for what appeared to be limitations in the Amiga version that were for some reason carried over to just about every port.

To open the FTM file, you'll need this.
The .ogg conversion was too large to upload as one post, so I had to split it into multiple .zips. Sorry.

Playing the Lemmings Redux pack currently on the experimental since a feature I use a lot in stable is bugged and doesn't work.

Found this... interesting bug on Lemmings in the Attic after accidentally splatting a lemming and trying to start over.

Upon pressing the hotkey to restart the level:

 - Sometimes the replay fails to play at all.
 - Sometimes the replay plays some, but not all of the skill assignments back
 - Sometimes it works normally
 - Bringing up the edit replay menu sets the game state to where it should be in the replay.

I haven't been able to reliably predict which behavior will occur, but there seems to be a decent spread.
My setup was, during replication tests, to assign climbers and floaters to lemmings 2, 3, 4, and 5 for crowd control purposes, and a builder to lemming 1 when it reaches the gap (counting the first lemming as 1, in case the game considers the first lemming to be 0).
EDIT: Upon further testing the only thing I've really noticed is that it seems most likely that, if you play a level, perform a few skills, then restart, repeatedly, allowing the replay to play through, the most likely result, starting on the second attempt, is whatever happened on the previous attempt, though the other alternatives can certainly still occur. But whenever I think I figured out how to influence the result I usually end up being wrong. For example, I was able to cancel it at one point by pausing the game, but this didn't end up being a consistent way to replicate this bug, and it can happen without any pausing.

 On 10-13-16_564425c, trying to play the Lemmings Redux pack (using the experimental because a feature I use frequently is bugged in the stable), I got to Keep Your Hair on Mr. Lemmings and noticed that I could not assign any skills to lemmings slightly left of the entrance.

I tried highlighting lemmings and assigning skills that way, but that didn't work either - anywhere. Not sure if the ability to right click a skill to make the highlighted lemming perform it was culled or if it's also a bug - it did work in the stable, though.

I have not determined what about this level causes this behavior. I'll add more if I figure it out.

This may be a little complicated to implement, and hard drives are generally large enough nowadays that this isn't a huge concern (although it certainly makes for some cluttered folders) but I've noticed that if you have auto-save replays on, load a replay, and play it to completion, an identical replay gets saved.

I would suggest that, if a replay is loaded (from file rather than from backwards frame step), don't autosave a new replay unless new actions are taken.

Site Discussion / Ability to delete your own posts?
« on: February 12, 2017, 04:47:23 AM »
I recently accidentally double posted in a thread, and didn't see a button to delete the post.

Maybe I'm thinking of a site, but I think you used to be able to delete your own posts? If not, it would be nice to be able to delete accidental double posts like this so a moderator doesn't have to.

Closed / [SUGGESTION] Ability to Change Pieces to Different Tileset
« on: December 06, 2016, 08:15:11 AM »
(Depending on how the new formats work when they're implemented I suspect it may be possible to do what I want to do with with a Find/Replace operation in Notepad but I'd have to see)

In earlier versions of NeoLemmix, levels made using recolored sets (e.g. Genesis, or those EGA ones Giga's been releasing) were easily interchangeable. While overall the functionality of being able to use multiple tilesets for one level is more useful than the older functionality of being able to switch a level's tileset it would be nice to have some way of changing the color variant used.

Suggested implementation: with some number of objects/terrain pieces selected, have some way (perhaps in the Inspector) to replace them with pieces from another tileset while leaving object/terrain IDs intact.

Closed / [CONTENT]Checking if this change to Pillar set was intentional
« on: October 14, 2016, 07:22:44 PM »
I know the trigger area for the spike object in Pillar is/was weird. I noticed that in the newest version of the set, the object was changed to be half the size, and the full sized one added to the end. I haven't compared trigger areas at this time.

Since this makes older content look different (I'm unsure how it affects function), I wanted to check if the visual change brought to older content was intentional before I bring the changes to the Genesis version of the set.

General Discussion / UI Sins: A Rant
« on: October 04, 2016, 04:44:24 AM »
Hoooooooooly crap, the number of bad user interfaces out there is staggering. I felt like sharing a few things that annoy me. I'll start with some minor ones.

First of all:
Dear iOS:
I am very much aware that Music is not allowed to use cellular data. I am not using the music app in any way that justifies allowing it to waste data. Sure I'm probably not going to go over the data limit, but better safe than sorry, yes? So you don't need to remind me about my choice of settings. There is almost no reason to notify the user of a setting that they themselves personally changed. If it could cause undesirable behavior, and it's possible that the user may have changed it accidentally, then I could see the notification being reasonable...  but only if there's a prominent and obvious way to tell it, "No, changing this setting was not an accident; this is how I want it."

Dear Cortana:
Please stop being such an attention whore. Then again, thank you for at least having a setting that's not completely impossible to find to suppress your desperate pleas to be acknowledged. iOS does a few things wrong; see above complaint; but at least I have to accidentally hold down a button too long for Siri to start bothering me; and she doesn't show up until I ask for her.

Dear Cortana's Overlords:
Cortana's senpai noticed her, and was subsequently displeased. I should think that if I've completely hidden Cortana as much as the settings will allow, then maaaaaaybe she shouldn't start telling me what to do in an update. "Oooooooooh, tell me to make you a to-do list!" Hey, guess what? That's actually really annoying. The reason I don't use Cortana isn't the fact that I don't know what she can do - it's that I would rather just do it myself. I type quickly enough to greatly counteract the amount of time I'd probably have to spend correcting her anyway - I type fast and don't really talk all that fast. That and it's kinda awkward when there's other people in the room. "Oh, hey, could you blah blah blah blah blah?" "Wait, what?" "Oh, no, sorry, just talking to the computer..." Also my desktop doesn't even have a microphone in all the time, since I only plug it in when I actually want to use it.

But these user interface sins are rather small and petty compared to the pile of absolute garbage I'm going to rant about:

So I have an assignment that involves using a certain program that is not entirely unlike PowerPoint. The only thing that it can do that PowerPoint can't is to have people comment on your slides (which is implemented kinda poorly but that's beside the point). Now, a lot of programs try to do things for the user. When done well, this can be fine. I don't have a problem with a program auto-suggesting some settings for something, or suggesting corrections to possible mistakes...  as long as 1) it can be overridden when the behavior is not desirable without a convoluted workaround (e.g. say if autocorrect won't let you use a certain word, but instead of being able to change it back after it gets corrected, you would have to make an image file of the word you actually want to use and put it in where the word should go) and 2) the behavior helps me more than it inconveniences me (this is why autocorrect is disabled on my phone) - and autosuggesting settings, even if they're not necessarily correct right away, can be a good starting point to adjust things further.

Then some software just decides that it wants to be smarter than the user and that it knows more about how to make something look than the user does. "Hey, here's an image that could totally have more brightness/contrast!" *makes some sort of adjustment that causes any even remotely bright spot on the original to look like kinda like a lens flare* "Oooooh, look how pretty it is! What do you mean you had text overlaid on that? It can't have been that important. Not as important as making it nice and bright :D" Sure, I could have picked something with which that wouldn't happen - but that's a very unexpected result - there was plenty of contrast between the text and the background in the original and it was perfectly readable. Then this thing comes along and basically desides "Because you used something other than black text on a white background I'm going to mess with the colors to make the whole thing unreadable!" Screw you, program-that-is-not-entirely-unlike-Powerpoint.

Also, making a narrated slideshow is just EASIER in PowerPoint. Why? It lets you edit things so you don't have to do the entire narration portion and slide timing perfectly in one take (this program will let you upload audio from an external source, but the narration and slide timings are tied together so if you upload it then you can't add slide timings which becomes a problem when the assignment has auto-advancing slides as a requirement). So because I am too lazy to repeat the same long-as-crap thing repeatedly into a microphone until I get it perfect, as single mistake forcing a restart (I don't mind this so much if it's live, but it feels like something that's recorded should be done until it is free of obvious mistakes), I figure this convoluted setup is the best I can do with my current equipment:

1) Record into audacity.
2) Edit the audio to be correct.
3) Position microphone next to speaker.
4) Use the microphone to record the sound from the speaker into the program while adding the slide timings.

This would have worked so much better if they'd just let us use PowerPoint instead.
Also note that if you want anything more professional than "I took a bunch of pictures from Google Images and talked over them!" you have to make a PowerPoint anyway because the only way you can add slides is to import them from PowerPoint. (Assuming you want slides that are visually more than just a single picture with literally nothing else, which you probably do, because this is a presentation for a class, not a "My Vacation Pictures" slideshow.)

Also note that the school is literally paying Microsoft so that every student has access to the online versions of Office anyway so there's literally no reason not to be using PowerPoint other than "We wanted to use something that isn't PowerPoint but has a similar, but much less professional-looking unless you like convoluted workarounds, end result!"

I will also note that it's not related to open source, either. This is just as proprietary as MS Office, but like 10,000 times less useful.

Did I mention that, in order to narrate the presentation, which is a requirement of the assignment, you literally have to leave a voice comment on your own presentation, meaning that the narration is considered a comment? That doesn't make sense from a design perspective, as it doesn't match the way any other application ever uses the word "comment."

And to clarify even further: this is not a presentation class, and I have no reason to believe that they want to enforce you doing it in one take.


Got any stories of your own dealing with crappily designed programs? Feel free to post them here!

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